Ruling Condemns School For the Death of A Child Who Fell From the Balcony of His Home

7 April 2008

The Court of Barcelona has ordered a school to pay compensation to the parents of a child who has died, ruling that the school did not fulfil its responsibility of caring for the minor, given that the minor fell from the balcony during school hours.

This assumption may be seen as considering a quasi-objective responsibility and thus is arguable, according to some authors of legal documents. However, others consider it to be a reasonable and fair case, given that:

     1. the minor was thirteen years old,

     2. when the child fell from the balcony of his home he should have been at school,

     3. the child was receiving psychiatric treatment, as recommended by the same school, to help his self-esteem,

     4. hours before the fatal accident, the cause of death, a teacher from the school had punished the child for throwing an object out of the classroom window.

The sum of the compensation may be considered very small given that it is only 26,801 Euros, with the justification that the school did not carry out its responsibility of caring for the minor.

The Judge indicates that on that day the child should have had lunch at school, but the lack of control by the school meant that the absence of the child occurred without the consent or knowledge of the parents.

The conclusion is, and should be, that anyone looking after minors should exert the maximum amount of care and control over them, given that they are responsible for everything they do and what happens whilst in their care. However, proof of the circumstances and assessment of what happened is another matter, thus as always, better safe than sorry.

For further information, please contact Alex Ensesa Casulleras: aensesa@mmmm.es